Circling the Lion's Den

The Main Directorate of special programs of the President, the GUSP

Chief - Alexander Lints

The Main Directorate of special programs of the President (Glavnoye Upravlenie Specialnih Program: GUSP) is a direct successor of the 15th Directorate of the KGB, responsible for guarding government's bunkers and undeground facilities.

During the Cold War all sides were busy preparing for nuclear war: the United Kingdom, the USA and the Soviet Union simultaneously built special underground bunkers where the leadership would seek refuge in the event of a nuclear attack.

Bunkers, underground factories and even tank tunnels turned the Moscow’s subsoil into Swiss cheese – according to independent experts, there are 12 levels of underground communications beneath the Russian capital. It is said that the biggest of them was the secret undergroundmetrosystem (so-called Metro-2 the real code name D-6), parallel to the public MoscowMetro, but only to be used by high-ranking officials.

D-6 has been a live project since the 1940s and its construction has never stopped. As far as it known (since no official records are available) by the time the Soviet Union collapsed, D-6 consisted of four lines seven stories below ground level). A special section in the KGB, the 15th Directorate, established in 1977, was placed in charge of its safety.

In 1991, when the KGB was hacked into pieces, the 15th Directorate was not included in the FSB or the Federal Protective Service (FSO), responsible for the protection of the senior state officials.

For three years the 15th Directorate appeared to be nowhere. Only in 1994 the first non-confidential document appeared that included the directorates new title: The Main Directorate of special programs of the President (Glavnoye Upravlenie Specialnih Program: GUSP), which is, it turns out, a separate secret service with a peculiar status. GUSP was not given the status of Federal Service like most Russian secret services (for instance the Federal Security Service and Federal Protective Service), but was included into the body of Administration of the President. GUSPs Guidelines were established only in 1996 by Presidential Decreei. Thus GUSP was not sanctioned by any act of Parliament and came into existence without being subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

GUSP structure

  • Service of special objects (so-called "the moles")
  • Operation and technical department (so-called "the bantams")